Vacation spending must be the easiest spending yet. Whether you are checking out a new city or a whole new country, it just feels so easy to indulge in another cake, buy more souvenirs, or pay that eye-watering tourist premium for the best look at a hotspot. After all, you’ve been waiting for this, right?! Cutting your vacation spending might not sound like the funnest way to enjoy your holiday, but it can make holidaying much more affordable. Here are some of the top tips we’ve been told…
If you are planning on doing any of your vacation spending on a credit card, make sure you are using the best card for you. Some cards offer low interest over longer periods, which is great if you need to settle the balance slowly, and some are ideal for drawing cash out abroad as they don’t charge exchange fees. Some even offer reward points for purchases. If your card has a high interest rate, or if it charges for overseas spending, it’s probably best to avoid using it completely.
Groupon and similar voucher sites often have 70% off deals that just can’t be beaten. Look for deals around your destination area, and you might find something that you really want to do. Food and drinks vouchers can knock a huge amount off eating costs, and it’s not uncommon for tourist destinations to offer money off, or even specialist activities such as scuba diving or ballroom dancing. It’s well worth checking regularly in the months before you go away.
When you get to your destination, locate the tourist information or state welcome center. These places often contain leaflets on what to do in the area, along with coupon booklets that offer great discounts. These typically cover everything from local attractions to motels and restaurants, so it’s well worth checking them out.
Sometimes, you can save a lot of money by going to an attraction as part of a group. Cedar Point in OH, for example, offers $37 tickets to people in a group of 15 or more. That’s nearly an $18 saving per person! You can usually find smaller groups who are willing to team up outside, or on online forums. It’s well worth the effort of arranging to meet up!
We’ve just come back from a holiday to Europe, where the attractions can be pretty expensive. The water park at the end of town was nearly $50 each, but if you went on a Friday after 8pm, it dropped to just $15. The savings during quiet periods can be unbelievable, so check out the ticket prices of everywhere you want to go, and try to schedule it for a cheaper time. It’s a great buzz to know you got to enjoy a great attraction for less!
It’s not quite as easy as choosing the cheapest accommodation when you go away – there can be other things to take into account, too. Petrol costs from a cheaper hotel that’s out-of-town can negate the saving you made on the room, and increased food costs can make a cheap hotel cost much more than you’d expected. It’s also worth seeing if any hotels offer free entry with a stay – you can save so much this way, and often get a nicer hotel room, too. If you aren’t sure, call hotels and ask about special offers or deals. You never know when you might be able to negotiate a discount!
One of the best ways to cut vacation spending without influencing your vacation too much is just to be travel smart. If you are going out for the day, find a local supermarket to buy food and water at – it’ll be much cheaper than buying it in a theme park or tourist attraction. If you’ve got a few hours free, check out sites like Mrfreestuff.com, and see what free activities there are. If you feel like going out of town, choose cheap transport times, and avoid taking a taxi if you can walk somewhere. You won’t notice the difference, but your wallet will.
Keeping your vacation spending under control can feel tough, and it’s often far too tempting to ignore your finances and think about them when you’ve got home. If you use these tips, though, you can be sure that you’ll have a great vacation without emptying your bank account. Have you got a great tip on how to reign in vacation spending? I’d love to hear it!
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